Can We Hear the Drums Still?

Fifty years ago today…

Most everybody who was alive then in America is thinking, speaking, or writing those words.

November 22, 1963. I was in the Hyannis office of the Cape Cod Standard Times when the UPI teletype rang an alert and the first flash clattered onto the paper roll at 1:34 in the afternoon. And then the next. And the final one.

DALLAS, NOV. 22 (UPI) – THREE SHOTS WERE FIRED AT PRESIDENT KENNEDY’S MOTORCADE TODAY IN DOWNTOWN DALLAS.  JT1234PCS

FlASH      KENNEDY SERIOUSLY WOUNDED    PERHAPS SERIOUSLY   PERHAPS FATALLY BY ASSASSINS BULLET  JT 1239 PCS

FLASH PRESIDENT KENNEDY DEAD   JT135PCS

I spent the afternoon writing an obit for John F. Kennedy, updating the material in our files, pulling it all together.

I spent that weekend in Rhode Island, with Charlene, my love at the time. We watched the news and the funeral procession until we had to get out of the house and into the sunlight and fresh air where we could not hear the sound of drums.

Fifty years ago today…

I believe we would be living in a better world today had Oswald not pulled the trigger. We would be a better country, a better people. Instead we live now in a country run by the worst natures of our politics. It’s as if Kennedy’s spilled blood spread the poison of Oswald’s bitterness and hatred into the rivers of American history, until today the drums are louder, transformed from the solemn sound of grief and respect into bone rattling thunders of hatred and fear pounding into every village and town and city.

We have chosen to be a lesser people than we might have been.

Fifty years ago today…

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